Unverified Ownership Tammy, my 1997 Mazda MX-5 1.6

Mitchi

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Got my hands on this 1997 1.6 MX-5 NA some weeks ago. Car was owned by someone I know for like three years, he wanted to get rid of it due to backpain in summer, a friend bought it and now sold it to me. It's named Tammy from the previous-previous owner, so that name is gonna stick. Have an upper picture of it with 15 inch BBS summer wheels on Toyo T1R's and some blurry DSLR pics with stock 14 inch winter wheels down below. Queue the jibber-jabber without any clear structure:



Car has got 240.000 kms, and ignition timing was set from 10 to 14 degrees, so apparently 110-ish hp, basically the 1.6 from the NB. Not sure if that's really true, as it just feels like another slow MX-5, so all is good.





There are some modifications to the car, as it sits on KW V1 coilovers, which I absolutely adore. Stock MX-5 springs and dampers are horseshit compared to how subtle the car sits with the KW. They consolidate my big love KW as a brand and manufacturer. Best possible upgrade for an NA/NB MX-5.

The car also has 3D-printed side light-removal-insert-thingies, so that's good. And a 3D-printed sun visor delete kit. Oh yeah, and a small lip at the back that's not (yet) in the car's papers, and was wrapped by the previous-previous owner when he was drunk.



I haven't actually done anything to the car so far - except de-stickering it a little and basically fucking up the wiring loom for the radio, which now doesn't work anymore. So I have to play music via a bluetooth box. Anyway, doesn't matter too much, it's not good looking without a radio in it, and the antenna has been removed when re-painting the car in Audis Venezioviolett anyway. Though I think this is actually quite a bit more purple than Audis colour, which might be because the car was Montego blue underneath, and actually still is at the left side mirror (which was once replaced because of a mishap) and at the hardtop.













Things to do (if I had power, money and motivation):

- adjust car's height so it doesn't bottom out anymore anywhere...
- exhaust is blowing somewhere at the middle silencer aswell as the headers. Car is quite loud, especially sitting in it. Doesn't sound good, and you can't really hear the engine note itself, just exhaust gasses.
- suspension - I don't think bushings have been done when swapping to coilovers because JDM yo. Car also feels to light and clunky at the front axle, quite grueling to be honest. I feel less and less safe with the front axle as-is right now.
- in the same manner - steering. Steering is lose/not tight enough, something's up with it.
- fix wiring loom for radio.. somehow. I'm super bad when it comes to electrics
- water pump (I think) makes noises. Might be on the way out and is probably 15+ years old.
- yes, the car has rust, of course. Let's see how well it goes over the winter, if I can get myself up to drive it on salty roads.
- the trunk is not water-tight, apparently. There's no standing water in it, but the trunk floor mat is always wet, and I haven't quite figured out yet from where it comes into the trunk.
- gearbox feels like it barely has any oil in it. It hesitates to go into first gear quite often, and feels really clunky. It should be much more slick.
- there's no lock for the passenger door, have to open it from inside.
- facelifted NAs don't have an internal trunk release, god damn it, Mazda! This should be retrofitted ...
- Opening the fuel filler cap takes between three and thirty attempts. I'm not quite sure what's wrong, as the spring seems to work. This is really embarassing at petrol stations.
- driver's side door needs mirror housing fixed, as that's lose, aswell as the window barely working at all. Also, there's something lose in both doors rattling around
- the softtop has got a glass window, which is good, but it's slightly torn off, so I can't really use the soft top.
- probably more, but I forgot, and don't want to think about it

So, any plans? Well, not sure. At the moment I drive this car once every fortnight or so, I haven't even done 500 kms in it so far. I do treat it as a beater right now, I am honest. It shouldn't be one, but I bought the car for the wrong reasons.

Firstly, I thought I could take this car as a base to finally have an NA again; a car that I'd like to keep for a long time and start modifying it. But I'm not sure the base car is right, aswell as the time now. This seems more gone that I thought it would be, as stated per the things-to-do-list above. I'm already annoyed by small things like the radio not working because the cables are fucked, or the driving position - which I thought would be fine, but having driven it a little on my own behalf now I think the steering wheel is too big and the seats too high. A pre-facelift NA has a much better driving position.

The second reason being the same reason as for selling the Sierra to beni: Not being able to work on the car myself space-wise. If for example I have to go to a shop to have a 50 euro brake caliper swapped out for 300 euro, that annoys me a lot and digs a hole in my pocket that's just too deep. Having an old car means replacing stuff frequently, and not being able to do that myself, but having to pay someone do it for a multiple amount of money just isn't something I can and want to do right now. I thought I could drive the car longer as-is right now, but I fear I can't because so much needs to be done. Now I've bought a car that brings me into the exact same fucking spot again.

I also have to admit that it somehow doesn't feel like my car. It's modified by someone else and everytime I get in it, it feels like I'm borrowing someone else's car.

Lastly, I will probably have to undergo some major changes in my life next year, as I want to change jobs and move town. This car just doesn't help at all. It just slows down what I try to call 'progress'.

I really should just go out and lease a brand new Pug 208 via Sixt for 99 euros a month or so. I'm quite done with old cars.

Well, this was depressing to write. Car's TÜV is running out in april, might aswell ditch it over the winter in snow...
 
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Tram13

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When you first posted pictures of it in IG stories, I thought it was just your friend's car (actually, back then, it might've been, from what you wrote). Then, when you posted an actual IG post with it, I figured the car was yours.

Congratulations on the car! I can't really say if you did the right thing when buying this car, but then, who am I to speak? I've been eyeing sub-1000€ Alfa Romeo 156 classified ads for a while now.

I'd say enjoy it for a few months and sell it, although the next few months are winter months, so that might not be that great of an idea, financially-wise. Or keep it until the next summer, but then you have to go through the MOT in April, which isn't ideal either...

BTW:
- facelifted NAs don't have an internal trunk release, god damn it, Mazda! This should be retrofitted ...
Why is this important? Just curious, not judging...
 

Mitchi

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I'd say enjoy it for a few months and sell it, although the next few months are winter months, so that might not be that great of an idea, financially-wise. Or keep it until the next summer, but then you have to go through the MOT in April, which isn't ideal either...
Yeah - it feels a bit like there's only one choice that's less worse than the other...

Why is this important? Just curious, not judging...
If the engine is running, you can't just hop out and get the stuff out of the trunk, if for example you drop someone off... always need to turn the engine off, or take the second key with you. Trunk can only be opened via key.
 

Tram13

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Oops, I misunderstood what an internal trunk release meant. That being said, none of my dad's cars (Saxo, Yugo, BX) have it either, although on the Saxo and the BX at least you can keep the trunk unlocked, meaning you don't have unlock it after you close it every single time.
 

93Flareside

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Congrats on the new car but I totally understand your viewpoint. What exactly happened with the radio? Is there an aftermarket radio and it's simply a whoopsie with the aftermarket harness or something deeper?
 

DanRoM

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It looks like a nice amount of ridiculous. Shame about the numerous issues, though. :(
Hopefully you get a good amount of fun out of it anyway. :)
 

Mitchi

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Congrats on the new car but I totally understand your viewpoint. What exactly happened with the radio? Is there an aftermarket radio and it's simply a whoopsie with the aftermarket harness or something deeper?
So there's a subwoofer installed (not really a problem), and there used to be a JVC radio in it. I just couldn't get my 6S to pair with it, no matter what. So I thought, why not use my good ol' trusty Kienzle. But since the day I got the JVC out I cannot get any juice on any radio. I measured it and it appears to be dead. And the fuses are fine, weirdly enough.
 

Terrex

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I told ya, sould've leased a GTI Performance :p .

... jokes aside. It is a bit sad to read, how much trouble and headache the car gives you at the moment, knowing how much you actually "adore" these kind of cars. Don't let the circumstances ruin it for you. Don't feel forced/rushed to get it fixed instantly, take your time ;). As you should know, finding a solid, rust free NA for reasonable money gets harder and harder. Therefore you shouldn't ruin this one, if it is still a solid basis. Times will get better :hug:.
 

Matt2000

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I think the sticker on the back says it all, don't chop it in just to get something boring. I have to admit I'm also kind of tired of the issues that come with older cars.
 

93Flareside

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I think the sticker on the back says it all, don't chop it in just to get something boring. I have to admit I'm also kind of tired of the issues that come with older cars.
I wonder if this is a sign of us aging. Gone are the days of fidgeting with our toys. Now we just want our cars to work. :(
 

Dr_Grip

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I wonder if this is a sign of us aging. Gone are the days of fidgeting with our toys. Now we just want our cars to work. :(
I dunno, I still enoy wrenching, but sometimes I just want shit to work for once...
 

public

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Congrats on the car ... which you kinda want? to sell already?

I dunno, it looks pretty great! Nice colour swap, tasteful purple suits the NA shape so well. Most of those annoyances seem fixable, like the seat height (just get some earlier seats or something, I have pre-FL runners I can just give you, etc etc). And at least it runs, unlike mine!

Edit: But yes, I feel one should have "bullshit cars" and at least one "no-bullshit car" that always work, isn't tiresome for commuting, etc etc. I wouldn't want to commute in my Miata, it's way too abrasive for that even if it's stock.
 

Redliner

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Congrats?
I feel happy for you, a bit jealous while at the same time totally understanding what you feel.
I have a new-ish car that makes me angry if something doesn't work but on the other hand PURPLE NA MIATA.
This would be a "marriage" for me, as in, I would do whateveris needed to keep it forever.
Maybe send it to Slovenia for a while? Hahahahaha
 

Der Stig

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It's purple and has KW coilovers, that's all you need!

In all seriousness, @public is bang on. Boring commuter box is a requirement when you have an older car.

Hope it works out though and you can hold on to it as it looks great and seems like a good base for tinkering with.
 

Dr_Grip

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I enjoy wrenching but only because I want to do something not because i have to fix something.
Exactly that - I like working on the car out of choice, but right now with a new project arriving and the holiday driving season ahead having to fix everything (water pump, front brakes, gearbox leak) on Lucille is the last thing I need.
 

Mitchi

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It's purple and has KW coilovers, that's all you need!

In all seriousness, @public is bang on. Boring commuter box is a requirement when you have an older car.

Hope it works out though and you can hold on to it as it looks great and seems like a good base for tinkering with.
I am lucky enough to not have to use a car to commute! This should make this easier but oh well...
 
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